DAVAO CITY – Davao de Oro Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy said defunding of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) runs the risk of interrupting the development projects and derailing the government’s momentum against the communist rebellion.
In a statement Tuesday, Uy said described the calls to defund NTF-ELCAC as “unfortunate.”
“It is our humble plea to our legislators not to defund NTF-ELCAC in support of our local government units’ move to continue achieving peace through ways of peace,” said Uy, who is also the chairperson of the Regional Development Council in Region 11 (RDC-11).
Uy pointed out that the task force’s budget, which includes the Barangay Development Program (BDP), has been a great help in addressing the pressing problems in communities long affected by armed conflict.
The BDP, a hallmark program of NTF ELCAC with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities, has identified 822 barangays nationwide that were former guerilla fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines -New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Of the PHP19 billion total budget of the NTF-ELCAC, PHP16.5 billion is allotted for the development of 822 barangays cleared of insurgency.
Each recipient barangay would receive PHP20 million for the following: 1-kilometer farm-to-market road worth PHP12 million; classrooms (PHP3 million); water and sanitation systems (PHP2 million); health station (PHP1.5 million); and livelihood projects (PHP1.5 million).
“Peacebuilding is not an easy task. To achieve peace, the government must be transparent and accountable. Progress has to reach the farthest communities. This means that the least among us must gain access to essential services such as healthcare and education. This is what the NTF-ELCAC has stood for since its creation in 2019,” Uy said.
Through the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP), the governor said, the government managed to identify the needed interventions in their respective areas.
“What they proposed is the construction of access roads, water systems, school buildings, health centers, and livelihood programs. The NTF-ELCAC funded these projects to address their needs, all of which are set to be implemented and completed by the local government unit this year,” he said.
Uy noted that some 113 of former conflict-affected areas are now free from insurgency while 862 former rebels are now successfully reintegrated into the mainstream society.
“From 11 guerilla units operating in Davao de Oro in 2016, we are now down to two weakened guerilla fronts,” he said.
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade war against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)